Is New Zealand selling citizenship to non-New Zealanders?

For years there have been concerns that this Government might be selling citizenship to non-New Zealanders. The concerns have stemmed from the usage of “exceptional circumstances”, which are normally accorded to those fleeing extreme humanitarian danger or other circumstances – such as genocide or civil war.

Now it would appear that new concerns have come to light with the Ministry of Immigration admitting that fewer than half of the 138 people admitted to New Zealand under the aforementioned criteria were actually fleeing such circumstances as those I described.

One of those who has been admitted is an American billionaire named Peter Thiel. The circumstances surrounding this case are unusual, and therefore raise questions. Why was he – for example – granted his citizenship on those grounds, when America is not such an unstable place as to have legitimately grave fears for ones family and own safety? I mean, after all, it is not like there is an act of a genocidal nature going on in the United States. It is not like there is a civil war or other conflict going on that makes his case one of “exceptional humanitarian or other” concern.

If the Minister of Immigration is found to be doing permitting the sale of citizenship to New Zealanders, he should resign from Parliament forthwith in disgrace.

The problem should then become an election issue, as it affects in some respects the very character of New Zealand citizenship that this is happening. Whomever wins the 23 September 2017 General Election needs to amend New Zealand citizenship law quickly after assuming office to:

  1. Forbid the sale of residency or citizenship to anyone
  2. Make it a criminal offence with either a substantial fine or a modest jail sentence to sell citizenship or residency

But before any of this, we need to force the Department of Internal Affairs to tell us why so many people who are being admitted on the aforementioned grounds do not actually comply with them.

Citizenship is earned. So is Permanent Residency. In earlier posts I have mentioned how I think immigration law needs to be reformed. With this still being a problem, clearly New Zealand is not valuing what I believe is one of the most valuable national citizenships that can be awarded anywhere in the world.

And that is a problem.

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